What You Need to Know About the 5 Stages of Addiction

Today, more than 40 million people in the United States over age 12 are grappling with an addiction to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. With overdoses on the rise and a growing opioid epidemic affecting millions around the country, it’s more important than ever to be able to spot and treat substance abuse early on.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has a drug problem, it’s important you learn how to recognize the different stages of addiction and the ways to take the proper action against them. Sadly, the path from drug experimentation to a full-blown addiction can easily be a downward spiral. Five major stages of drug addiction manifest along this spiral. Below are some of the most common factors of each phase and recommendations on how to help users that are dealing with the five different stages of drug addiction.

Stage 1: Experimentation

Common signs:

People usually start experimenting with drugs during their teenage years. More than half of first-time drug users try substances before they turn 18 years old. They are often initiated or pressured into trying drugs by a friend, and at this point, they still consider the experience to be fun and entertaining.

More than half of first-time drug users start to experiment with marijuana first. Substance use during this phase is not frequent and typically happens during social gatherings. Experimental users don’t have cravings and feel like they are in total control of their drug use. They can choose to stop using drugs whenever they want and can go for long periods without them.

How to treat this stage:

For some, drug experimentation never leads to substance abuse problems later on. For others, it can be the first step toward establishing a long-term addiction. Monitoring the frequency of drug use early on is an important step toward preventing more routine use in the future.

A good approach early on in drug experimentation is to ask the person why they are experimenting in the first place. If they are using drugs to cope with pain or emotional issues, try offering other solutions to the problem such as counseling or therapy.

Stage 2: Regular Use

Common signs:

At this stage, substance use becomes part of a routine for users. It doesn’t necessarily mean drugs are used on a daily basis, but there is a repeated pattern of behavior such as using drugs every weekend or at every party. Users also may start using drugs repeatedly to help them cope with a particular situation such as when they are stressed out or have feelings of depression.

Regular users no longer need to be in a social setting to do drugs and begin to use substances when they are alone, too. They may also start experiencing drug hangovers the day after doing drugs, which may cause them to miss work or school occasionally. Regular users still appear to function normally but start displaying certain changes in behavior including defiance, depression, aggression, and anxiety.

How to treat this stage:

If a regular user has already tried counseling without positive results, it might be time to try going to an outpatient facility for treatment.

With outpatient care, users typically visit a clinic for regular, scheduled appointments with medical professionals that can last anywhere from one to eight hours. The treatment is similar to what a person would receive at an inpatient facility, but with the added benefit that they do not have to leave their homes.

Outpatient programs include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, stress management, motivational incentives, group therapy, and individual and family therapy.

Outpatient care works best for users who are still in good health, have a stable living situation, and a strong network of supportive loved ones. “The strongest thing that is helpful is having a system of care that can surround the person,” says Dr. Kelly Clark, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Stage 3: Risk-Taking Use

Common signs:

During the risk-taking stage, users start to lose control of their drug use and start engaging in dangerous activities to fulfill their habit. Their drug use starts to negatively impact their job performance, grades, personal relationships, and financial well being.

At this hazardous stage, it’s not unusual for users to:

    • Drive under the influence
    • Have unprotected sex
    • Get arrested
    • Lose their job
    • Spend irresponsible amounts of money on substances
    • Break up with partners and end friendships
    • Lie to loved ones

Physical symptoms in a risk-tasking user start to become more noticeable. Risky users often experience changes in weight, problems with memory, and poor coordination skills. Users at this stage often realize they already have a substance abuse problem but might still refuse to get help or treatment, even though they are aware their drug use is negatively affecting their lives. Risk-taking drug users begin to experience intense cravings for drugs, and the possibility of quitting seems much more difficult than it did in the past.

How to treat this stage:

For those in the risk-taking stage, inpatient rehabilitation in a residential setting might be a better option for treatment than therapy and/or outpatient facilities. Users who have started engaging in reckless behavior can benefit from going to a short-term, inpatient program that will help remove them from situations where they are constantly tempted to do drugs. It can also help them avoid negative influences and people who have contributed to their addiction. The length of stay for a user at a short-term inpatient facility can vary anywhere from a few days to up to 30 days.

At an inpatient rehab, users are provided with round-the-clock care including but not limited to: individual counseling sessions, family counseling, group therapy, medical care, and medication management. Inpatient care is recommended for those who feel unable to stop their drug use without being in a safe, supervised, and drug-free environment. Once their inpatient treatment is over, users usually continue their recovery with outpatient care and counseling.

Stage 4: Dependence

Common signs:

Users at this stage have become physically dependent on drugs. Their brain’s chemistry has now become accustomed to regular drug use and is unable to function normally without it. Dependent drug users suffer from constant cravings for substances as well as intense withdrawal symptoms that depend on their drug of choice and can include: nausea, shaking, sweating, muscle pain, rapid heart rate, and even seizures. Dependent users have created a much higher tolerance for drugs and now need much higher doses of the substance than before to get high. These users are aware they are physically and psychologically dependent on drugs, but the possibility of stopping drug use can seem impossible without outside help. Relapse often occurs for users who try to quit substance abuse on their own at this stage.

How to treat this stage:

Once a user has become physically dependent on substances, their body might need to go through drug detoxification first. At a drug detox center, users go through the withdrawal process of drug addiction in a safe, monitored environment. They are also provided with medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms and minimize discomfort. Going through detoxification first increases a user’s chance of staying sober. Those who detox safely from drug dependency are also more likely to seek treatment at inpatient and outpatient facilities immediately after detoxification. Drug detox programs are recommended for users who have become physically dependent on substances and those who have been abusing drugs for long stretches of time.

Stage 5: Addiction

Common signs:

Users in the addiction stage of substance abuse have become completely and utterly dependent on drugs. Addicted users can’t imagine life without using drugs and will do almost anything to get their hands on them. Cravings have become unbearable, and it often feels like the only way to survive is to consume more substances. The search for more drugs dominates a user’s daily activities.Users are compulsively dependent on their drug abuse and can suffer from chronic relapses when trying to quit their substance abuse.

The lives of stage five addicts are often chaotic and out of control.

How to treat this stage:

A variety of treatment options are available for people who have become completely addicted to drugs. A hospital inpatient treatment facility can provide several different levels of care for addicts.

Users who are hospitalized first go through medically supervised detoxes, in which severe withdrawal symptoms are managed and eased. Medications to help manage their addiction, such as methadone and Suboxone may also be provided.

Users are also required to attend individual counseling sessions to understand the root of their addiction and to help them avoid psychological relapses in the future.

Hospital inpatient facilities are beneficial to most substance users but are typically aimed toward users who are addicted to substances with severe withdrawal symptoms and long-term substance abusers.

There are also long-term residential drug treatment programs for those who feel like they need a lengthier, more dedicated type form of treatment. In this type of housing facility, users often stay in treatment for at least 90 days, regularly attending counseling, group therapy, and educational classes on drug abuse. Medication management is also available.

Addiction can seem like a tough battle to fight, but it’s important to know it is possible to overcome. As is the case with most diseases, the sooner an addiction is diagnosed and treated, the higher the chance of recovery. Drug addiction doesn’t have to become a lifelong struggle, with the right amount of support and proper course of treatment, addicts can regain control and live happy and fulfilling lives.

Start Addiction Recovery at Arete

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and would like to explore your recovery options, Arete Recovery can help you today. Call us now at 855-781-9939 or connect with us online to speak with one of our recovery specialists who can match you or your loved one to the right treatments to return to a life of health, sobriety, and fulfillment.

How Prescription Painkiller Addiction Affects Pregnancy

Over the past 15 years, the United States has seen an increase in pregnant women addicted to painkillers. A recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the first of its kind, revealed the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic on families across the U.S., including on the very youngest and most vulnerable. Another point that was mentioned in the study is that untreated opioid use disorder during pregnancy can lead to heartbreaking results.

Opioid use among pregnant women represents a significant public health concern due to the overwhelming negative consequences that can occur. In 1999, the rate of women arriving at hospitals to deliver babies with an opioid disorder was 1.5 per 1,000 per deliveries, and that number rose sharply to 6.5 in 2014.

This largely is in part due to the overprescribing of opioids over the past several years. In an effort to curb this very serious epidemic, doctors have been prescribing fewer painkillers with the hopes of slowing this problem down. As of today, however, more than 115 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose every single day.

One of the issues is that even with the reduction in prescriptions, those already addicted are passing this on to their newborn children. When children are born to addicted mothers, not only do they have to fight a battle of withdrawal as infants but they risk medical problems for the rest of their lives as well as a potential drug problem of their own later on in life.

What are Prescription Opioids?

There are a variety of prescription opioid painkillers ranging from codeine to morphine. Each serves the primary purpose of controlling pain. These could be prescribed by your health care provider after you’ve suffered an injury, after a surgery, or if you’ve had dental work done. There are several types of prescription opioids including:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Tramadol

The specific type prescribed is decided by the type of injury or the severity of the surgery. This is left at the doctor’s discretion in order to help alleviate the pain and symptoms. The problem though is that even after injury, individuals will exaggerate the symptoms in order to be prescribed these medications. There have also been reports that some doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioids are more likely to prescribe them. This will only continue to exacerbate an already lethal problem.

What Makes Opioids Dangerous during Pregnancy

According to the Mayo Clinic, opioids used during pregnancy might cross the placenta and enter the baby’s central nervous system. With that said, while occasional use isn’t linked to major concerns, it is still something that could affect the child. With more extensive use, the pregnant woman faces passing on what is called a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which is a group of conditions caused when a baby goes through withdrawal from drugs they are exposed to in the womb before birth. This is commonly caused during pregnancy and addiction to painkillers. There are many complications that can be attributed to prolonged opioid use in conjunction with pregnancy such as:

  • Placental problems, including placental abruption and placental insufficiency
  • Premature rupture of membranes
  • Preterm labor and premature birth
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Preeclampsia
  • Miscarriage or fetal death
  • Postpartum heavy bleeding
  • Inflammation of the fetal membranes

Because of these risk factors, adverse and uncomfortable symptoms can be passed onto the baby after birth. The use of prescription painkillers can cause the same effects on the baby that the mother experiences. With extended use, the baby, like the mother, will develop a tolerance to the drugs. Once the baby is delivered, they will immediately go through painful withdrawal symptoms that can range from:

  • Tremors
  • Jitteriness
  • Diarrhea
  • Uncoordinated sucking reflexes leading to poor feeding
  • Irritability
  • High-pitched cry
  • Poor sleep
  • Seizures

Withdrawal in babies can last an entire month before symptoms start to subside. This can result in a lengthy hospital stay for the baby. Babies that experience NAS will also exhibit symptoms such as low birth weights and respiratory problems.

Infants born with NAS typically need treatment with anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital, or opioids like morphine to reduce the probability of seizures and ease withdrawal symptoms. In more extreme cases, birth defects of the heart, brain, and/or spine have been reported. There are also reports of problems in utero that don’t allow a baby to ever grow to its intended size.

With all of the symptoms mentioned, the National Institute on Drug Abuse points out that these cases are more prominent in lower-income communities.

Suddenly Quitting Prescription Painkillers While Pregnant

Expectant mothers don’t always intend to get pregnant—some want to take the proper steps to quit and ensure the safety of their baby. So the question is: it safe to suddenly quit prescription painkillers during pregnancy? The answer is no. While the intentions are for the baby are good, there are recommended procedures set in place to aid in the detox process. Quitting cold turkey could have catastrophic consequences for the baby including:

    • Placental abruption: This is an uncommon yet serious complication of pregnancy. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta partially or completely separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. This can decrease or block the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients and cause heavy bleeding in the mother. It often happens suddenly, and left untreated can endanger both the mother and baby.
    • Premature birth: A premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before the baby’s estimated due date. In other words, a premature birth is one that occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy.
    • Growth Problems: Babies born to mothers with an addiction to painkillers during pregnancy have been noted as not growing to their full potential beginning in utero. 
    • Stillbirth: Stillbirth is the death of a baby in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Breastfeeding & Opioid Use

After giving birth, one of the most beautiful acts of bonding in nature is the ability to nurture a child that you created, but it may not be the best choice. It has been said if the baby was born with NAS, breastfeeding may help make the withdrawals less severe, requiring less medicine and a quicker hospital exit.

However, if you must return to opioid use after pregnancy to manage chronic pain, know that some opioids can cause life-threatening problems for the baby through breastfeeding. Make sure that you speak with a medical professional for instructions on whether or not you should continue breastfeeding. Consider an alternative if using any of these medications:

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meperidine
  • Oxycodone
  • Tramadol

These can cause adverse side effects in the baby, and it is recommended that pain relievers such as Advil or Tylenol be used as an alternative during breastfeeding.

Opioid Statistics

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids
  • The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017
  • Opioid overdoses in large cities increased by 54 percent in 16 states

Recovery From Addiction to Prescription Painkillers

The addiction specialists at Arete Recovery understand opioid addiction recovery and how frightening withdrawal can be. We view detox as a critical part of recovery from substance abuse and addiction, so we want to equip you with the resources you need to quit using opioids while protecting the life you carry.

Call us today at 855-781-9939 or contact us online to begin your life to sobriety. Our addiction professionals will provide you with a free assessment and consultation. We’ll also connect you to the treatment that you need to get started on the road to recovery today.

The 5 Most Dangerous Homemade Highs

When it comes to getting high, there are plenty of illicit substances to be wary of, each with their own harmful effects. And, as the opioid crisis continues to worsen, there are many legal substances that can be abused with deadly results.

However, you might not be aware of the potential dangers lurking in your everyday household products. While all of the following substances are “legal” ways to get high, they are no less dangerous, and in some cases, even more so, since all it can take is one dose to kill someone, do serious permanent damage, or create an addiction.

While anyone can attempt to create these “homemade highs,” children and teenagers are particularly at risk, because they often have far easier access to these items. Rather than trying to go out and get illegal drugs, they have not just one but several potential tools to get high sitting in their kitchens and bathrooms. They also may be under the false impression that getting high on household products is somehow safer than the alternative.

5. Nutmeg

While it may be the most unexpected, people have actually been abusing nutmeg since the early 1900s. Although it fell out of use for a long time since, nutmeg has recently gained new exposure as a homemade high with the advent of the Internet.

If someone takes at least five teaspoons of nutmeg within about a half hour, they will start to experience visual and auditory hallucinations that can last as long as two days. The key to nutmeg’s hallucinogenic properties comes from a naturally-occurring compound called myristicin that was traditionally used in the synthesis of drugs like MDMA.

Nutmeg’s lengthy high is also accompanied by side effects that range from unpleasant to serious and downright nasty, including:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Involuntary eye movement
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe stomach cramps and abdominal pain
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Dangerously elevated heart rate

It is also possible to eat too much nutmeg and overdose on it. While not a lethal substance, nutmeg is still dangerous and should maybe be kept out of the spice rack and out of reach of children who don’t understand the risks of ingesting it.

4. Allergy Medication

Over-the-counter allergy medication is, perhaps, a less unexpected homemade high than nutmeg, but it still might come as a surprise just how commonly and frequently antihistamines are abused for their sedative effects.

While newer allergy medications like Claritin or Allegra cause less drowsiness, older medications like Benadryl will indiscriminately disrupt the brain’s histamine receptors, including the ones that regulate wakefulness, which is what causes the drowsy side effects. These medications are also frequently abused in conjunction with prescription sedative medications like Xanax and Valium, which can lead to nausea, double vision, and dangerously shallow breathing.

The side effects of regular, long-term abuse of antihistamines include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures
  • Cardiovascular disease

However, the previously mentioned non-drowsy allergy medicines have their own risks. Many non-prescription cold medicines like Sudafed promise non-drowsy relief with a decongestant known as pseudoephedrine, which is also an active ingredient in methamphetamine.

In an effort to curb abuse as well as purchasing the product in bulk in order to manufacture methamphetamine, many pharmacies now have allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine behind the counter and require a driver’s license and signature to buy them.

To lower the risk of a child or family member using allergy medication to get high, it’s recommended that you regularly check how much medication is in each bottle, keep them out of your child’s possession, and avoid buying more medication than you need for the sake of stocking up.

3. Hand Sanitizer

The thought of drinking hand sanitizer might be difficult to wrap your mind around, but this is an especially popular homemade high among adolescents for two key reasons. The first is that they have essentially unrestricted access to it, and the second is that one bottle of hand sanitizer contains roughly 60 to 95 percent ethanol, which is the equivalent of five shots of hard liquor.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), had noted in their research that reports of hand sanitizer exposure among children were lower during the summer. This makes sense when considering that nowadays hand sanitizer is on the required classroom materials list along with tissues and notebook paper.

The onset of intoxication after drinking hand sanitizer is extremely rapid and comes with severe side effects and health risks, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Memory loss
  • Blindness
  • Suspended breathing
  • Internal organ damage
  • Coma

If you have a child or teenager, it is important to stress just how incredibly dangerous drinking hand sanitizer is; the consequences can be deadly. While you cannot control access to hand sanitizer outside your home, you can at least purchase the foam version for inside, as it is harder to extract the alcohol from it and also more difficult to drink.

2. Inhalants

Along with over-the-counter medications, inhalants are the largest category of everyday household items that can be used to get high. Again, inhalant abuse is another form of substance misuse most popular among adolescents due to ease of access and the multitude of products that can be used as an inhalant. Nearly anything in a pressurized container can be used to get high, and some common, frequently abused products include:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Felt tip markers
  • Spray paint
  • Air freshener
  • Hairspray
  • Aerosol computer cleaners
  • Cooking spray
  • Whipped cream cans
  • Correctional fluid

Although these products have different ingredients, they still produce extremely similar effects, such as euphoria, lightheadedness, slurred speech, and impaired brain function and motor skills. The ways that people use inhalants to get high vary, including:

  • Huffing from a rag soaked in one of the above chemicals
  • Snorting the fumes
  • Inhaling the fumes after spraying them into a bag
  • Spraying the aerosol directly into the nose or mouth

Inhalant abuse is, of course, extremely damaging. Regular abuse of inhalants can cause:

  • Hearing loss
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Brain damage
  • Decrease in motor skills
  • Muscle spasms
  • Liver and Kidney damage
  • Bone marrow damage

However, inhalants can kill in just a single dose in the event of an overdose or the following situations:

  • Asphyxiation
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Choking on vomit
  • Coma
  • Suffocation

And finally people abusing inhalants can experience what is known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, or SSD, which is fatal heart failure due to strenuous activity or anything placing stress on the heart after abusing inhalants. This makes the heart extremely sensitive to sudden bursts of adrenaline.

It is next to impossible to remove everything that could potentially be used as an inhalant from your home, which is why it is essential if you have a child that you have a clear and detailed discussion with them about the severe effects and dangers of inhalants.

1. Cough Medicine

Finally, we come to one of the most dangerous and most commonly abused homemade highs: cough medicine. The cough suppressants that see the most frequent misuse are Nyquil and Robitussin, both of which can be easily purchased over the counter.

The ingredient in cough medicine that makes it effective is dextromethorphan or DXM. DXM is also what creates the high when someone abuses cough syrup. In a large enough dose, it can have both a sedative and hallucinatory effect, similar to ketamine or PCP, but much easier to get ahold of.

The short-term effects of DXM, apart from the hallucinations and sedation, include:

  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heavy sweating
  • Sight loss
  • Blackouts
  • Dangerously shallow breathing

DXM is extremely addictive as well as possible to overdose on, requiring medical detoxification. When abused long-term, DXM can cause major liver damage and dissociation, as well as a more extreme form of this condition known as chemical psychosis, which is characterized by a complete break with reality and inability to communicate with those around you.

Cough suppressants can be found in medicine cabinets, bought without issue in stores and are a homemade high that can result in addiction, psychosis, and death. If you keep cough medicine in your home, make sure you either place it somewhere safely out of reach of a child or family member who might abuse it or otherwise regularly check the amount of it to ensure it is not being misused.

If you or a family member is currently struggling with addiction and turning to household products for a homemade high, Arete Recovery can help you make the first step necessary for a substance-free life with our professional detox services. Call (844) 318-7500 or contact us online to speak with one of our addiction specialists.

Xanax vs. Klonopin | Comparing Their Uses, Effects, and Dangers

When it comes to treating anxiety, two of the drugs most frequently mentioned are Xanax and Klonopin. Both fall under the category of benzodiazepines, compounds that act on the body’s central nervous system to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, and more.

While these benzodiazepines are undoubtedly helpful to many people suffering from anxiety disorders, they are usually only prescribed as short-term solutions due to their addictive qualities and the potential for tolerance, dependence, and eventually addiction, which can have life-threatening consequences.

In 2015, benzodiazepines were involved in about 9,000 overdose deaths, which has increased by more than four-fold from 2002 to 2015.

Because they are very chemically similar and used to treat many of the same things, some might think that Xanax and Klonopin are essentially interchangeable, but each medication comes with its own unique set of risks.

Understanding how Xanax and Klonopin work, as well as the dangers and long-term effects of both substances, can help prevent overdose deaths, and maybe even be able to stop an addiction before it starts.

The Breakdown on Benzodiazepines

While both are among the most common benzos used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax and Klonopin have distinct other medical uses as well. Xanax has also been found to be effective against:

  • Anxiety specifically co-occurring with depression
  • Agoraphobia-based panic disorders
  • Nausea due to chemotherapy when used in combination with other medications

Klonopin has an even wider range of medicinal uses outside of anxiety, including:

  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Certain sleep disorders

As benzodiazepines, both Xanax and Klonopin work by binding to a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid, or GABA. GABA’s job is to reduce neuron activity and inhibit nerve impulses related to controlling fear and anxiety and keeping the body calm.

Xanax and Klonopin, despite being different classes of benzos, both bind themselves to a wide variety of GABA receptors, increasing the levels of GABA in the brain, which is what gives them their sedating, anti-anxiety effects.

The major difference in how they work is how long each drug stays in the body, or their half-lives. Xanax is absorbed much faster than Klonopin, which means its effects are felt quicker, as it hits its peak concentration between about one to two hours after someone takes it. However, these effects will typically only last about four to six hours.

Klonopin, in contrast, can take anywhere from one to four hours to absorb into the body and reach its peak concentration. However, its effects last significantly longer than Xanax at up to 12 hours per dose.

Xanax and Klonopin share many of the same common side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Poor coordination
  • Forgetfulness
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Coughing
  • Lack of appetite

However, unlike Klonopin, Xanax has a much longer and more varied list of possible side effects that are considered fairly common, such as:

  • Stomach pain
  • Confusion
  • Urination issues
  • Dissociation, or detachment from the mind or body
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sore throat
  • Tightness in chest
  • Liver problems resulting in yellowed skin or eyes
  • Mood swings
  • Joint pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • “Pins and needles” tingling

Which is Safer: Klonopin or Xanax?

The answer is not a simple one, as both drugs carry a high risk of both physical and psychological dependence. They are also only meant to be prescribed for short-term use, as many people can become addicted in as little as two weeks of regular use.

Klonopin, in particular, has been found to be less effective over time, leading people to take more to achieve the same effects as they abuse it and become addicted. Xanax, on the other hand, is frequently mixed with other substances, such as alcohol, which can lead to serious respiratory problems, coma, and even death.

When abused long-term, both drugs can permanently damage a person’s memory as well as other areas of the brain, but chronic abuse of Xanax can lead to even more serious problems, such as extended psychotic experiences and bouts of delirium.

Deadly Detox

Detoxing from benzodiazepines is also a notoriously difficult and potentially life-threatening process that should never be attempted without the assistance of a professional medical detox facility.

Trying to stop using Klonopin or Xanax all at once will not only make the whole withdrawal process more painful than it needs to be, but it can also throw your body, suddenly deprived of the levels of GABA it has become used to, into shock. This shock can cause intense emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms that can become protracted and last for months.

Trying to stop abusing Xanax “cold-turkey” is especially dangerous, as it can cause hallucinations, psychosis, and Grand mal seizures severe enough to kill someone. In one documented case, a woman who had been abusing large doses of Xanax for just one week stopped using entirely and consequently died four days later as a result of seizures brought on by withdrawal.

Even without taking possible fatality into account, withdrawal from both Klonopin and Xanax comes with a high rate of relapse due to what’s known as the “rebound effect.” The rebound effect is when the symptoms of anxiety (that either the Xanax or Klonopin was meant to be treating) return, only now much stronger and more difficult to manage, which can drive someone back to using just to ease the symptoms.

When detoxing from either Xanax or Klonopin, it is best to do so with qualified medical assistance that can provide constant monitoring and a gradual tapering process of the dosage until it is safe to stop using.

Let Arete Recovery Get You on the Path to Sobriety

Klonopin and Xanax do share many traits, but perhaps the most important one is the harm they can cause if abused. If you or a loved is struggling with a dependency on Xanax or Klonopin, the experienced staff at Arete Recovery can help you take the first steps toward a substance-free life with our expert detoxification services. Call (844) 318-7500 to speak with one of our addiction specialists or contact us online.